Support for senior employees still needs to be improved

Over the next 15 years the major challenge to companies will be to adapt to the needs of senior employees. Support provided by companies to senior employees is, however, something still quite rare as was demonstrated by a study conducted by the Institute for labour market and professional research (IAB). In the meantime, the frequency of supporting measures for older employees even slightly declined between 2002 and 2006: The percentage of companies offering such measures to senior employees fell from 19% to 17% in the period from 2002 to 2006. The number of employees aged between 55 and 64 is expected to increase by 40% by the year 2020.

A manpower shortage is not expected by that time. The manpower supply may only slightly decrease at the most. Only after the year 2020 the population will noticeably shrink thereby also decreasing the manpower supply, say the labour market experts from Nuremberg.

In order to maintain the working capacity of their employees, companies already today have to invest in measures to promote the health, training and motivation of their employees. A survey, however, carried out annually among 16.000 companies and institutions revealed that many companies are still not appropriately prepared for the new situation on the labor market. »One really has to ask the question whether the awareness raising campaigns carried out so far have really been successful», is one of the statements of the authors of the IAB study.

Only one fifth of the companies interviewed said that they would do more for their employees´ health than minimal legal standards require. Only 26% of all employees were supported by training measures offered by their employers in 2005.

Only 10% of the people employed in the first half of 2006 were older than 50 years. According to data provided by the Federal Employment Office the percentage of older employees being subject to social ensurance contribution amounted, on the other hand, to more than 20%. In part this small number of older employees is due to the fact that many companies do not receive applications by older people at all. »These people do either not expect to be employed or have already retired«, concludes the IAB study.

The IAB report on democraphic change and older employees is available from the internet. GERMAN